I'm hoping that someone can give me some suggestions for cutting scrap
double strength glass. I picked up a few pieces from the local junkyard.
They look to be pieces from a stereo cabinet - about 48"x12" and almost a
quarter of an inch thick. I'm trying to cut the pieces to size so that I
can use them as tops for some fish tanks. Mainly I need to do long cuts to
split them in half. I was hoping to get this done at the local hardware
store, but was told that the glass that I have is double strength and that
I'd have to go to a glass shop. The glass shops are charging about $6/cut -
that's more than I paid for the individual pieces of glass. I had one
person reccomend that I use a tile cutter for this job. Anyone have
experience using a tile cutter to cut double strength glass or have a
better/cheaper method? Thanks in advance for any help.
double strength glass is 1/8". single strength is about 2/3s that.
you have 1/4". it's harder to cut than double strength.
you might try a stained glass store or anyone you know who does that. they'd
probably do it for free but not guarantee that it won't break badly.
if you want to try it yourself, it's always easier to cut something in half
than a sliver off a piece. if you're attempting to do the latter, then i'd
suggest having someone else do it.
use a $2 carbide wheel glass cutter from the hardware store. score it in a
straight line, don't go back and rescore skips, don't retrace the line. you
should hear a skritch when scoring correctly. get some window glass and
practice first. put a pencil or dowel down under the scored line. press down
from both sides firmly. it will break, but take a good deal of pressure. if
you're lucky it will break on the line. wear gloves and eye protection.
there are tools to do this safer and easier, but they're more expensive than
what you've already been quoted.
a tile cutter won't do this wide a cut.
I've never gotten the hang of one of those. There's a technique to it
that I can't quite get. I always think my scores are fine, but when I
go to separate it I only break it on the line about two-thirds of the
time, which is of course an unacceptably high failure rate. :)
My father-in-law does it as easily as marking on lumber with a
Definitely practice as much as you can before attempting your real cuts.
Or, just have the glass shop you talked to cut it. Don't think it's a
"ripoff" just because you got the glass cheap. How much will it matter
that the glass was cheap if you break it all trying to do this yourself?
Bo Williams - firstname.lastname@example.org
Correction - I made an error. It is 1/8 inch glass and not 1/4 inch. I may
end up going back to the glass shop, but if I can take the pieces back to
the junkyard and swap them for something thinner, that might be the best
way to go. Thanks for trying to help.
well, 1/8" is even easier than 1/4".
it's all technique, and practice does make it easier. if you have problems
breaking long pieces, do it more gently at one end of the score, then go to
the other end and break from there.
running pliers would help a lot, if you have lots of these cuts.
you can also snap scores over the edge of a table, if you're daring enough.
Additional note here. Make sure the wheel is lubricated and turns
freely and make sure the glass where you are going to cut it has been
carefully cleaned. Don't delay between the time you make the scratch and
when you break it. The longer you weight the less chance you will have to
have it work. Glass heals itself so after a few minutes the scratch is not
as weak as it first was.
Additional additional note: old glass is much more difficult to cut than
new glass. Remember that glass in not really solid, but rather sort of a
no, it doesn't have to be lubricated. i haven't used any oil for years in my
cutters. you don't see any cutters in home depot lubricated, and all the
glass shops i've been in don't use any lubrication.
glass doesn't heal. old wive's tale.
old glass isn't harder to cut then new glass. it probably isn't possible
that a stereo cabinet have plate glass, which would be different to cut,
than regular float glass.
typically you want about 5-6 lbs of hand pressure to cut glass, no matter
it's type or age.
glass is an amorphous solid.
It requires more pressure to separate but not really anymore pressure to
score. It's all float glass... 3/16 and up is called 'plate' glass
Any glass person with half a brain will not guarantee that a cut will be
I think it is best described as the sound like slowly tearing a sheet of
No, you don't HAVE to lubricate, it's just a much better way to do it.
you don't see any cutters in home depot lubricated, and all the
Commercial glaziers most often use the lub on the intended score line,
not on the cutter. Thus, the possibility of your confusion.
Sorry sir, not true. The older the score, the less likely the glass will
separate on the line. I don't know the science but I have often tried
breaking off pieces on old score lines will little success.
If it is NOS, no, but usually folks are trying to recut old glass that
has been exposed to the elements and it will have pitting or etching
caused by pollutants that can effect the continuity of the score line.
If that's the case, try and figure out which side faced in and score on
it probably isn't possible
which would be different to cut,
Again, the score pressure would be the same. It's a misconception that
the thicker the glass the more pressure you need to apply to the score
line. Since there is no grain 'cutting' glass is really a controlled
break along the path of least resistance.
How about some advice from an actual glass cutter ?
Lubricate EVERY cut, we use a special oil for this, but in a pinch at home i
use 3 in 1 oil. You do not want a "hot" score.
Yes, after about 20 minutes a score will NOT run, or break because the score
Slow, steady pressure on the score, and don't pause or stop. Wear gloves and
eye protection. Run the score either using the pencil method described
earlier, or grab the glass each side the score with thumb and fingers and
6mm (1/4") is no easier or harder to cut than 3mm once you know how to score
it. Cutting machines use varying pressures when scoring.
BEWARE, if you got these pieces fo glass out of a stereo cabinet (regardless
of the thickness) they may be tempered and when you score the glass it will
go boom !!!
Bottom line, go to damn glass shop and some pieces cut to size, it's not
there is a big difference between making long consistant cuts involved in
cutting window glass and plate glass and that of stained glass. a good
glazier will always use a lube such as kerosene or mineral spirits or even a
light weight oil like WD40 if necessary. a hot cut and a new cutter can
ruin a good piece of glass if used wrong. when cutting plate glass you
would want to use an older cutter w/ that has been *dulled* a bit and on a
piece of SSB or DSB a newer cutter that doesn't need much pressure to make
the cut since you can actually break the glass if you push down too hard on
on single or double strenght glass . if a cut is too hot it will *pop*
little rice like pieces along the cut and make running it very difficult and
could make the break unclean and rough.
a real glazier will lube almost every cut, unless he is using a self-lubing
cutter or is if he is only making one or two quick cuts. it's important to
keep the wheel and the cut cool to ensure a good clean break, one thing you
don't want is a hot cut.
Yeh, I was taught in high school that glass is an extremely viscous fluid;
just look at old windows.
Turns not simply not true. Glass is just a plain old solid. Old windows
don't flow; they were uneven to start with.
Half of what everyone knows is not true. Sadly, it is hard to be sure which
But getting back to the poster's question. If you paid less than $6 for the
glass, then buy a $2 glass cutter and try it. The worst that can happen is
that it doesn't work.
glass from a stereo cabinet is probably tempered safety glass and you will
not be able to cut it. since it is decorative glass, there probably isn't a
safety stamp on it, but more than likely it is tempered.
hit it w/ a hammer and see if it breaks into a thousand diamond like pieces,
if it only breaks into large pieces then you'll know it wasn't
tempered....just kidding w/ ya.
since you're not sure of how to cut it, bring it back to the glass shop and
ask them, but they'll probably tell you the same thing.
the only other tip i can give you is, if there are small *dimples* anywhere
along the edges, this is a sign that the glass has been tempered,but w/out
seeing that stamp it's hit or miss you won't know until it is scored and you
try to run the cut.
Well, that was an interesting exchange :-)
At this point, I'll probably try to cut one of the pieces myself. As has
already been noted, if it doesn't work, I'm only out about $3.50 - what I
paid for the glass. If it does work, I just saved myself $6.00. Actually,
if I can do this repeatedly - which I'll have to given that I need to make
an average of two cuts per piece to get it to the size/shape I want, then
I'll be saving a whole lot more. Thanks.
you can tell if it's polarized. take 2 pairs of sunglasses. take the glass
outside in the sunlight. put one behind the glass, one in front of the
glass. look through the sandwich. if you see a pattern in the glass, it's
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